Amid months of speculation, Trump’s latest budget offered a key insight into its perception of the Mueller investigation.
In a surprising development, Trump’s budget proposed $10 million for the ongoing Mueller probe for the year of 2019. This is the same amount that was allocated for the special counselor’s investigation for 2018, indicating that the White House believes the investigation will stretch long into the future.
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The allocation, then, flies in the face of the Trump team’s own comments on the matter. Ty Cobb, Trump’s lawyer, has suggested this summer that the probe would be wrapped up before year’s end.
“I’d be embarrassed if this is still haunting the White House by Thanksgiving and worse if it’s still haunting him by year end,” Cobb told Reuters.
When that timeline did not come to pass, Cobb adjusted his statement.
“We’re not looking for these guys to close up shop, but we are interested in trying to get the president’s piece of this resolved quickly,” Cobb explained.
From the time that Mueller was appointed special counsel in May of 2017 until the end of fiscal year 2017, his office has spent $3.2 million on the investigation.
The allotment is also a momentary reprieve from months of speculation that Trump would have Mueller fired by removing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – who has already indicated that he will not fire Mueller – and replacing him with someone else would who would indeed fire him.
Of course, Trump could still replace Rosenstein, but fully funding the investigation is at the very least a step in the right direction.